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Drawer Slide and Alignment Issues

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Forum topic by David posted 04-06-2009 07:12 PM 10324 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David

110 posts in 2814 days


04-06-2009 07:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drawer drawer slides cabinet alignment

Hi all,

I’ve been building a solid wood file cabinet out of Walnut with 3 solid oak drawers(with walnut faces) and finally came to the part of installing drawer slides. I had originally purcahsed some 18” fully extendable Centerline Slides from Rockler however after realizing that 2 of the sets were broken (I find Rockler to be poor at packaging products) I went to the local HD and purchased some there which are able to suppor 100lbs per set (shoudl be plenty). I basically spent all weekend putting them in and measured down to the 1/32nd of an inch in terms of alignment. Here’s my issue: The drawers seem to be installed correctly from a height perspective as there is the same clearance on each side between drawers (3 in total: one five inch drawer on top for pencils and 2 file cabinet depth drawers below ) however when I shut the drawers there is about a 1/2” gap on the right side between the cabinet and the drawer: ie the left side of the drawer fully closes however the right side won’t. I’m checked the squaring on the cabinet and all seems Kosher and can’t seem to locate what the isssue might be. I’ve made sure the front of drawer slides are flush with the back of the drawer front on both sides. If helpful I could post some photos tonight when I get home to show you. What am I msising here? Any thoughts/ideas would be much appreciated!
Thank you, David

-- dcutter


3 replies so far

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Waldschrat

505 posts in 2902 days


#1 posted 04-08-2009 11:13 AM

David,

Photos are helpful, just so people can better visualize what exactly the problem is. I think though, I can help… from what your are describing is not a unusual problem, a bit more extreme than I have ever heard, with a 1/2” gap and all, but I know this happens once and a while. I am guessing also from your description, that you did not attach the drawer fronts after you put in the drawer guides, right?

I think if this is the case, it might be easier if you remove the faces, (allowing that you did not glue them on) and start from there. It could be that the guides were either not exaclty straight too… that happens as well, just as you said, they can be damaged in shipping, although, with 100 pound capacity drawer guides, I think that is unlikely. This is exactly why when I build something with drawers, no matter what kind of guides I am using (metal mechanical or self made classic wooden drawer guides), I always put in the guides attach them to the drawer and last and leastly, attach the front, using shims of somesort to assure perfect placement in closed position.

Did you check the squarness of the cabinet from back to the sides, it could be that even though your sides are exactly parallel but not square to the backwall. I could imagine if you built your drawers, attacked the faces to the drawers, then installed the guides (eventhough very accurately from top or bottom measured), it could be that the cabinet in that direction slightly (1/2” or so) in a parallelogram shape, when you are lookin down at the top of the cabinet.

But as I said it is not so easy to tell with out pics…. they might be more helpful to see first hand where the cabinet is being stubborn!

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

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David

110 posts in 2814 days


#2 posted 04-08-2009 01:48 PM

Nick – Thank you for your reply. You make a very good point about attachng the drawer fronts AFTER installing the drawers. Unfortunately, I did not do this. I glued them on, so they are definitely not coming off and there’s no way I’m making new drawers. Beucase these are file cabinet depth drawers and the total height is 15” I had a heck of a time making them and actually kept breaking the tail boards when I was chiseling them out. In the end, I had to use a jig saw to cut out the tails, but that’s a whole different topic that I need to explore at another time….. Fortunatley for me, the drawer fronts do seem to be on fairly square.

So, after much frustration, I found out what was causing the gap on the right side and the drawers to basically not close at all – it was the spacing between the cabinet wall and the drawer. While the drawer slide instructions said to leave a 1/2” gap on each side for installation, which is exactly what I did, it ends up that you need to leave a little more space to make sure the slides can glide smoothly and not bind. So, I had to take the slide off the drawer and then routered out a groove in the middle of the drawer about 1/8th inch deep to allow for a bit more play. Unfrotuantely, becuase I had already attahced the drawer front this wasn’t quite as easy as it should have been and I had to finish the last few inches up to the drawer front with a chisel and hammer. Nonethless, this has worked as the drawers now slide in smoothly and shut firmly on both sides. So, long story short, for those of you attemping a similiar project, make sure you leave a little extra room than the alloated space on the drawer slilde instructions otherwise the drawers will bind and won’t shut smoothly. If you leave too much you could always use some shims, bu this might take away from the strength of the system.

Regards,
David

-- dcutter

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Waldschrat

505 posts in 2902 days


#3 posted 04-08-2009 02:19 PM

glad to hear that it work now…. its always good to complete something even after it gives one problems!

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

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